LAUSANNE, September 9, 2008 - Director and Editor-in-Chief of the Montenegrin daily newspaper Dan, Mladen Milutinovic, has appealed to AIPS president Gianni Merlo to help resolve a long-standing dispute with the Chairman of the Soccer Association of Montenegro which has prevented Dan's sports journalists and photographers from effectively covering the nation's football team for the past two years.
The AIPS president said he will investigate the matter. "The freedom of the press is essential for journalists and photographers to do their jobs and the situation in Montenegro is serious".
Mladen Milutinovic's letter is published below:
Podgorica, September 8, 2008
Mr. Gianni Merlo,
Dear President, dear members of the management of the International Association of
Sports Journalists and Presidents of the national associations,
I kindly ask you to help the Sports Editorial Board and the entire newspaper house Dan from Podgorica,
using your respective authorities.
Namely, for over two years now, the President of the Soccer Association of Montenegro, Mr. Dejan Savicevic, failing to sign the accreditations to our journalists and newspaper photographers, does not allow them to report from the
games of the national soccer team of Montenegro, and thus he deprives them of their right to work.
The reason for all this is our viewpoint and the criticism of Mr. Savicevic's (the President of the Association) work and political activity.
I know for a fact that Mr. Veselin Drljevic, the President of the Association of Sports Journalists of Montenegro, addressed you for this reason, as well as that you warned the heads of the Soccer Association of Montenegro, but it was the end of the matter, and the matter, even after that, remained identically the same.
Dear Sirs, I invite your representatives to come over to Montenegro, to be our guests and to familiarize themselves with the problem on the spot and to help so that all the sports journalists in the world can enjoy the same rights. It is
inadmissible that such tyranny is imposed and that free thinking is prosecuted in the heart of Europe. Particularly in the sports Europe.
You are thus addressed by the Director and Editor-in chief of the daily newspaper with the biggest circulation in Montenegro.
I hereby inform you that this letter, as well as the letter to the President of the European Soccer Federation , will be submitted to all the diplomatic representative offices in Montenegro.
I look forward to receiving your response and your delegation.
Executive Editor-in Chief of the daily newspaper Dan
Mr Milutinovic also wrote to Michel Platini, President of Europe's football governing body, UEFA.
Dear Mr. Platini,
I am addressing you with the request to assist us not only using your unquestionable authority but also from your position in the European house of soccer, i.e. to resolve the dispute between the Soccer Association of Montenegro and the daily newspaper Dan from Podgorica.
Namely, since the independence of Montenegro, the Chairman of the Soccer Association of Montenegro, Mr. Dejan Savicevic has not been signing, i.e. has stopped signing of the accreditations for the journalists and newspaper photographers of the daily newspaper Dan, which we always duly and timely submit, for the games organized by
the national Soccer Association. Mr. Dejan Savicevic, after our public condemnation of his political involvement, took over the role of a judge and has prohibited the journalists of the daily newspaper with the biggest circulation in Montenegro from reporting about the games of the Montenegrin national team. The national team of Montenegro has already played at eleven games and our media house was unable from report from them.
To remind you,
On the occasion of your stay in Montenegro and of the meeting with the Mayor of Podgorica, Mr. Miomir Mugosa, our journalist familiarized you with the situation.
You were more than surprised then and you promised to help. We hereby also remind you of the fact that we also addressed you in writing for the same reason.
Appreciating your unquestionably famous name in soccer and the fact that you are the President of the European house of soccer, we expect you to resolve the problem, as you would otherwise resolve it in your democratic homeland, France. Please do not allow Europe to turn a blind eye to the dictatorship of an individual in its soccer
I would also like to let you know that we shall forward this letter to all the diplomatic representative offices in Montenegro, inter alia, to the French one as well.
We are asking you, Mr. Platini to respond most urgently, and to have the administration of UEFA notify us about it.
Director and Executive Editor-in Chief of the daily newspaper Dan from Podgorica
Podgorica, September 8, 2008